Manon van Kouswijk


Artist Manon van Kouswijk awarded the $300,000 Southern Way McClelland Commission 2021

Manon van Kouswijk

Artist Manon van Kouswijk awarded the $300,000 Southern Way McClelland Commission 2021

Tuesday July 14th, 2020

Artist Manon van Kouswijk has been awarded the $300,000 Southern Way McClelland Commission 2021 for her dynamic sculpture proposal Peninsula Pearls, to be installed in September 2021.

The new sculpture will be sited along the Peninsula Link freeway in Melbourne’s South East as part of a unique and award-winning commitment to public art. It will replace Michael Riddle’s sculpture Iconoclast located at the Skye Road exit ramp around the corner from McClelland Sculpture Park+Gallery.

This major commission forms part of an ongoing program of new sculptures that alternates every two years between sites at Skye Road and Cranbourne Road along the Peninsula Link freeway, resulting in 14 commissions over the 25-year period to 2037. Southern Way generously donates funding for the sculptures. After four years on public display the commissions are relocated to McClelland as part of its permanent outdoor sculpture collection.

‘Manon van Kouswijk’s Peninsula Pearls is the sixth commission as part of this unique sculpture commissioning program with our partner Southern Way. With each new commission our local community and the many visitors to our region have the opportunity to experience some of Australia’s leading large-scale sculpture.  The program leads the regional focus of sculpture at the Gateway to the Mornington Peninsula. It promotes a local dialogue and reanimation of familiar, well known locations in our neighbourhood. Manon’s commission will be a wonderful surprise for commuters, taking the fine detail and personal intimacy of jewellery into the realm of large-scale public sculpture. This work will continue to fulfil the program’s aim to thoughtfully engage with our community through experiences out of the ordinary, those that inspire debate and develop awareness of sculpture. Each day we know over 74,000 people travel past these sculptures by car. Peninsula Pearls will once again make a significant contribution to public scultpure given its complex spatial arrangement, and I look forward to its realisation in the second half 2021,” says Lisa Byrne, Director, McClelland Sculpture Park+Gallery.

The Southern Way McClelland Commission 2021 received 174 submissions from local, interstate and international artists. The commission selection panel was Lisa Byrne, Director, McClelland; John Young AM, artist and McClelland Trustee; Jane O’Neill, Independent Curator.

Manon van Kouswijk is a Dutch artist and contemporary jeweller who lives and works in Melbourne. She studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where she held the position of Head of the Jewellery Department before relocating to Australia in 2010.

Her working methodology is based on exploring the visual and conceptual potential of well-known jewellery forms and motifs and translating them through a range of materials and processes. An integral aspect of her practice is the framing and contextualising of her work through the making of exhibitions and artist publications often in collaboration with other artists and designers. Her artist books feature found and made photographs and drawings to trace and reimagine the presence of jewellery and other personal possessions in private settings, in museums and in popular culture.

Her work is exhibited in galleries and museums and is part of private and public collections worldwide including: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; ABN-AMRO Art Collection, The Netherlands; Røsska Museet, Gøteborg, Sweden; FNAC, Paris, France; NGV, Melbourne, Australia; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia; Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Marseille, France; NGA, Canberra, Australia; Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK.
Manon van Kouswijk is represented by Gallery Funaki, Melbourne. Her submission for the Southern Way Commission was developed with Monash Art Projects (MAP).               

More information -

Image: Manon van Kouswijk portrait. Photograph Fred by Kroh.

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